Approximately 815 million people are undernourished worldwide, a figure that is expected to increase as the population grows and as climate change disrupts agricultural production.1 The impacts of hunger are both immediate and long lasting — it is responsible for mortality and stunting in children, and can lead to lifelong health conditions.2 If efforts to meet this growing challenge and achieve zero hunger are to succeed, changes are needed to make food and agriculture systems more sustainable, efficient, and accessible. SDG 2 is further refined by targets that can be more readily translated into actions. These targets highlight the interconnected nature of the goals: For example, strategies to achieve Zero Hunger also promote progress toward SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities). Below are a series of synergies that can come from providing access to products, services and systems that target Zero Hunger.
Access to Safe, Affordable & Sustainable Transportation
The majority of rural economies in developing countries around the world are agrarian. However, approximately 45% of the land area in low income countries and 51% in lower-middle-income countries is located more than five hours away from the main market, severely constraining the potential of agriculture to help meet local food needs.3 Access to affordable transportation options means farmers pay less for inputs to produce food, and less to move that food to market,4 as a result, consumers have better food options at affordable prices.5 Given the
distance between producers and major markets, farmers sometimes experience “stranded harvests” when the cost to move the crops to market outweighs the potential profits. Small scale farmers are affected far more than larger farmers by a lack of access to mobility because they rely on infrastructure much more than large farmers.
Access to Sustainable Sources of Food and Nutrition
Currently, one in nine people, or 821 million people globally, struggle to meet their daily nutritional needs. One in three people suffer from malnutrition. A poor diet can lead to poor health and as a result, have considerable impacts on local and national education and employment levels.6 Poverty is the main cause of hunger globally, stemming from a lack of resources and unequal income distribution. Hunger-related illnesses abound in food-insecure communities.7,8 A focus on the quantity of food that is produced globally must be balanced with a focus on its nutritional quality to achieve global food security. Small and large farms are equally important in addressing access to adequate nutrition as large farms produce in quantity and small farms produce a greater diversity of foods and generate wider nutritional benefits.9 The UN describes malnutrition as the “Global Triple Threat”; emphasizing hunger, micronutrient deficiencies as well as the dangers of growing overweight and obese populations. There is a loss in 10% of global GDP attributed to this “Global Triple Threat”.10
Access to Financial Services
The establishment of financial services and systems is important to the longterm sustainability of a farms and food-related small businesses.11 The ability to make agricultural investments and infrastructure requires long-term planning and investment in technology for both large and small scale operations. Many smallholder farmers need a greater emphasis on access to insurance and other risk management mechanism in order to thrive in an increasingly competitive economy and to adapt to the risks of climate change.12
SDG 2: References
2 Martins, V. et al. 2011. Long Lasting Effects of Undernutrition. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.